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Nonadaptive radiation of the gut microbiome in an adaptive radiation of Cyprinodon pupfishes with minor shifts for scale-eating
  • Joseph Heras,
  • Christopher Martin
Joseph Heras
California State University San Bernardino
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Christopher Martin
University of California Berkeley
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Adaptive radiations offer an excellent opportunity to understand the eco-evolutionary dynamics of gut microbiota and host niche specialization. In a laboratory common garden, we compared the gut microbiota of two novel trophic specialists, a scale-eater and a molluscivore, to a set of four outgroup generalist populations from which this adaptive radiation originated. We predicted an adaptive and highly divergent microbiome composition in the specialists matching their rapid rates of craniofacial diversification in the past 10 kya. We measured gut lengths and sequenced 16S rRNA amplicons of gut microbiomes from lab-reared fish fed the same high protein diet for one month. In contrast to our predictions, gut microbiota largely reflected 5 Mya phylogenetic divergence times among generalist populations in support of phylosymbiosis. However, we did find significant enrichment of Burkholderiaceae bacteria in both lab-reared scale-eater populations. These bacteria sometimes digest collagen, the major component of fish scales, supporting an adaptive shift. We also found some enrichment of Rhodobacteraceae and Planctomycetacia in lab-reared molluscivore populations, but these bacteria target cellulose. Minor shifts in gut microbiota appear adaptive for scale-eating in this radiation, whereas overall microbiome composition was phylogenetically conserved. This contrasts with predictions of adaptive radiation theory and observations of rapid diversification in all other trophic traits in these hosts, including craniofacial morphology, foraging behavior, aggression, and gene expression, suggesting that microbiome divergence proceeds as a nonadaptive radiation.